Boxing Champion James Toney Signs UFC DealReigning NABO and IBA Heavyweight Boxing Champion James “Lights Out” Toney has signed with the UFC. The outspoken 41-year-old had petitioned UFC President Dana White for a shot at competing in the Octagon and recently signed a multi-fight deal with the promotion. The news was first reported by

The aging boxer had recently spoken out about an initial contract offer from White, which he deemed to be “laughable,” but the two sides later came to an agreement. A timetable for Toney’s MMA debut is not yet known.

Toney (72-6-3, 2 NC [44 KOs] in Boxing) is one of the most decorated fighters in boxing history. The former two-time Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year previously held the IBF Middleweight, Super Middleweight and Cruiserweight Championships, but a pair of positive steroid tests in 2005 and 2007 led to the stripping of his WBA Heavyweight Championship. A bid for the WBC title ended in a Majority Draw after Toney turned in one of his poorest performances.

Ever a source of controversy, Toney last competed in boxing on September 12, 2009 and knocked out Matthew Greer in the second round. Toney was said to be refocused on training and appeared to be in much better shape than in other recent bouts. With his 21-year boxing career in its twilight stages, Toney lobbied Dana White for an opportunity to compete in mixed martial arts for the UFC.

White stated that he was hesitant to take a chance on signing Toney and felt that boxers did not understand the differences between striking techniques in boxing and MMA. He said that Toney would need to take the sport seriously and get in top shape or he would be the first to label the experiment as a “freak show.” While Toney is unlikely to become a well-rounded mixed martial artist, his devastating punching power will pose a serious threat to any and all opponents.

A date has not yet been set for Toney’s debut in the UFC, but the former six-division boxing champion has begun mixed martial arts training with Juanito Ibarra, who is best known for working previously with former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. Matchups with fellow strikers Cheick Kongo and Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson would seem like plausible fights for Toney’s first appearance inside the Octagon.


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  1. […] age have seemingly signalled the beginning of the end for Toney as a world-class boxer. After signing with the UFC on March 3rd, speculation immediately began as to whom Toney would face in his mixed […]